Suicide prevention program focused on firearms gets permanent funding

Posted at 7:12 PM, Mar 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-19 21:13:32-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah has made a suicide prevention program permanent with hopes that gun locks and safety information will stem the state's high suicide rate among children and youth, as the state is currently fifth in the nation when it comes to suicide deaths among youth.

State Representative Steve Eliason passed HB 134 in 2014 and then passed permanent funding in 2015. The logic behind the bill is that suicide by a gun is more likely to result in death than other common methods.

And, if at first a suicide does not succeed, the person typically doesn't try again.

"After somebody has made a near lethal attempt on their lives, 90 percent never go on to die by suicide," Eliason said at a press conference held to promote the program.

The bill makes gun locks and safety pamphlets available to places like emergency rooms, mental health professionals, schools and other groups who may have suicide prevention programs.

The press conference advertised the coalition supporting the program, including mental health professionals and Second Amendment activists from the National Shooting Sports Council and their Utah affiliate.

If you or someone you know is experiencing troubles with mental illness or suicidal thoughts, please consult the following resources by clicking the links or calling the phone number below:

The National Alliance on Mental Illness

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also available by phone, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)